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Red tide likely to remain for five days, expert says.

Dubai: Red tide on the Arabian Gulf coastline is not expected to disperse for another five days a marine specialist told Gulf News.

Gallery: What you need to know about red tide

At least one dive centre had to cancel its activities yesterday due to red tide in Dubai. However, no beach closure directives have been issued as this red tide is not dangerous or toxic to humans, according to Ebrahim Abdullah Al Jamali, Director of the Marine Resource Research Centre at the Ministry of Environment and Water in Dubai.

"I am not aware that beaches have been closed," he said. Al Jamali confirmed that red tide, an algal bloom that turns seawater red with the density of the algae, has been spotted in Dubai, Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah.

The high density of red algae can starve the water of oxygen killing fish or chasing them away and makes the water murky.

"There is nothing dangerous about red tide. It is preferable not to swim in it but we have conducted laboratory tests on shells, big and small fish and found no poisoning had occurred from the algae bloom," he said. "We have even sent some samples abroad which came back negative."

Al Jamali said a committee has been formed between the Ministry of Environment and Water (MOEW) and concerned municipalities, as well as the Interior Ministry to develop a national plan to monitor and manage the red tide along the UAE's coastline.

"The plan is now ready to be sent to the cabinet for approval," he said.

"The red tide on the Arabian coast has not been as frequently seen as on the East Coast where it was first seen last August. In Dubai and the Northern Emirates it has come and gone."

Algal blooms flourished in Dubai a few weeks ago before dispersing quickly during which time the beaches were closed.

In Ras Al Khaimah last month the Ghaleelah Desalination Plant was sealed off due to the spread of "red tide" on the coast in the emirate's northern areas.

Further south in Abu Dhabi, the Environment Agency is constantly monitoring the situation as well as coordinating with authorities across the emirates.

The last time a major red tide problem was witnessed in the emirate was in 2003, when fish deaths were recorded in Mussafah Channel.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Apr 22, 2009
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